In real life, when I step away from this blog, my life as an aspiring primary school teacher means that I have to regularly do blocks of school placement as part of my training. School placement is always a stressful time for students and often one of the most difficult parts can be the commute to the school if it’s far away and you have the misfortune of not knowing anyone who drives. This year I was particularly unlucky to find that my commute would be approximately an hour and twenty minutes to my school, one way. However, using the ingenuity and adaptability that all teachers possess (lol we are all total messes who have no clue what we’re doing most of the time) I decided that I would use my commutes to and from school to listen to a new album each time. Hence the hashtag: #albumsofplacement.
In this series of posts I will go through the different albums that I listened to and will highlight a song from each that I think is worth the listen.
There is far too much to happening in this album to be able to explain it in a short paragraph here. The debut release from Jonathan Ng is a heartbreaking and existential exploration into life. Certain to make you question everything that you might have thought to be certain. Outstanding.
I had heard great things about the collaboration project of Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis so I decided to give it a listen on the trip home one of the days. It is clear why the demise of this group is still bemoaned by many music fans. There was an innovation and a sense of exploration on this record that hinted at so many great things to come, sadly they never did.
First Aid Kit have been building a steady reputation as being one of the best folk bands on the go at the moment, Ruins continues this theme. An emotional walk through explorations of love and life, this will feature on many people’s lists as one of the best albums of the year.
The opening refrain of the song that I have chosen to include below, Midnight Summer Jam, is Timberlake saying “Y’all can’t do better than this…”, but unfortunately, you can. Justin Timberlake is one of the most charismatic and talented performers in recent history but if you want to visit his music I would recommend you go look at some of his earlier stuff because there is something forced and stretched about this offering.
Being the Album of the Year winner at the 2018 Grammy Awards, I was very interesting to see what all the fuss was about. I’m not going to lie, I still don’t get it. As a fan of Bruno Mars from when he was just a featured artist I have been disappointed to see his career shift to a more traditionally R&B feel, there was a few tracks on this album that I enjoyed but I can’t see myself listening to it again.
Damien Rice is widely regarded as one of the greatest singer/songwriters to come out of Ireland and when you actually listen to his debut offering, O, it is easy to see why. Beautiful collection of songs.
For a few years now, Kendrick Lamar, has slowly been building his reputation as one of the most talented names in current hip hop, DAMN solidifies that position.
Coming shortly after the release of the 2016 LP, We Move, True Care was another step away from the sound that had been so prevalent on the first two albums by the artist.
Fionn Regan -The Meetings of the Waters (Abbey Records, 2017)
I will confess to not having listened to as much Fionn Regan as I should have considering the esteem that he is held in within Irish music circles. However after listening to this Choice Music Prize album of the year nominee I will be sure to listen to more, there is a sophistication and a care to the lyrics and musicianship that is hard not to enjoy.
Regarded as one of the best debut albums of the last twenty years, there was freshness and enthusiasm to Stars of CCTV which still makes it a compelling listen all these years later.
James Lawson came to prominence with the heartbreakingly beautiful title track, Wasn’t Expecting That, and continued the theme with tight album of heartfelt tunes.
Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch (Sire, 2004)
Regina Spektor has always been one of those artists that I have meant to eventually listen to, so I saw my placement commutes as the perfect opportunity to make a start. Soviet Kitsch seemed like the perfect place to start considering Us was a song that I had previously listened to after it featured on the soundtrack of the 2012 movie, 500 Days of Summer. If you are looking for an album of methodically put together piano driven tunes who could do much worse than this offering.
Emma Langford – Quiet Giant (Self-released, 2017)
This debut offering from the Limerick born singer/songwriter demonstrates a musical intelligence and an ear for catchy songwriting that will be very exciting to see unfold in the coming years.
I can’t say that I have kept up with the career of Franz Ferdinand as much as I should have after their outstanding 2004 debut, but I had recently heard that the most recent offering from the English rock band was worth a visit. There is a lot to like about this record, and the innovation and experimentation that the band are trying to do can only be applauded, however there is a sense that this a band who peaked with their debut.
Weeks 2, 3, and 4 coming soon…